Journey through the Book of Romans
Paul Affirms the way of Abraham’s Justification is the way of ours also
Romans 4:9-12 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. NKJV
Paul concluded the last section of Romans 4 by quoting the very words of King David who said, “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.” David with these words rejoices in the reality that our Father in Heaven will never charge our account with one sin after we are born again of incorruptible seed by the Word of God that lives and abides forever. This brings delight to the soul of the son or daughter and motivates them (by the Power of God the Holy Spirit) to walk and live in holiness as our Lord Jesus gives us grace daily to be a vessel of righteousness for Him. Paul during his unregenerate days as a top Pharisee in the Jewish Sanhedrin believed like every Jew did that YAHWEH was their God only. Paul now by inspiration of God the Holy Spirit affirms that the same way God declared Abraham righteous in His Sight will be the same way He receives every sinner anywhere on the earth.
Every Jewish baby boy was circumcised on the 8th day according to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:1-3). When Abraham believed God, God the Father gave Abraham this covenant of circumcision to set apart Abraham and all his descendants (as belonging to YAHWEH) from the other people on the earth (Acts 7:8). The covenant of circumcision was the outward sign of the inward trust/faith Abraham had in the One True God (Jesus Christ). We recorded how Abraham trusted his son Isaac to God to the point that he believed God would raise him from the dead after he (Abraham) sacrificed him on the Mountain in Moriah, but The Angel of the Lord (this was the Pre-Incarnate Christ) spoke to him telling him not to sacrifice his son. Abraham had personal encounters with the Pre-Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ on more than this one occasion.
Circumcision alone did not make all of those who came from Abraham’s loins a Jew only their individual true inward trust/faith in the living God and their looking forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as did Abraham (John 8:56). Certainly Abraham did not understand it all, but our Lord Jesus declares that Abraham looked forward by faith to the day He (Christ) would become a man and die for man’s sin. Abraham’s covenant of circumcision was the eternal seal (stamp of approval before and with God; the mark of his genuineness). The new birth and receiving God the Holy Spirit is the mark of genuineness of a follower of Jesus Christ today. Like circumcision was the distinctive outward mark of the Jew reflecting an inward reality of trust/faith in YAHWEH, so is baptism the outward sign of the inward reality of being born again by the Spirit of God for the follower of Jesus Christ.
Circumcision did not bring Abraham into covenant with YAHWEH. Abraham believed God and that brought him into covenant and then God said I am going to mark you with this outward sign as being Mine. Baptism (as an infant or older child or at any age) does not make any person a follower of Jesus Christ; a person only becomes His follower by being born again of the Spirit of God (John 3:3 & John 3:5). Paul said it this way in the epistle to the Ephesians, Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. NKJV
Romans 4:13-15 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. NKJV
Paul now continues to make his argument to the Jews and all that Abraham was a transgressor of God’s Holy Moral Law just as every other man after Adams fall in the Garden of Eden. Although the Ten Commandments had yet to be revealed to humanity by God the Father, Abraham was a sinner along with his entire family in Ur of the Chaldeans. God called this man while he was a sinner and only the reality that Abraham heard God’s Words spoken to him and believed them made him right or righteous in God’s Sight (Galatians 3:16-18). The same is entirely true for all outside of Judaism as declared by Paul here, Romans 10:13-15 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” NKJV
Paul says that if Abraham was somehow good and this is why God called him and not someone else in his family or in Ur of the Chaldeans, then the reality of faith would be in vain for Abraham and for all in every generation. The law condemns every person it does nothing to save them from their sin only shows it to them. Paul has already told us that by the deeds of the law will no person come to God the Father and that the law given to Moses later on was solely to reveal to every person their sin (Romans 3:20). We understand this truth in our own man-made laws because the transgression of those laws does not ever dispense mercy, but only condemnation, wrath, and judgment always.
Romans 4:16-18 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed --- God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” NKJV
For Paul is declaring that if God the Father were to only consider those living under the Law of Moses right with Himself, then this would leave every Gentile outside looking in with no means of access to God the Father (Ephesians 2:11-18). However, that is why even Abraham was not declared righteous by any adherence or keeping of laws, ordinances, rules, commands, or regulations for Abraham had no knowledge of such things at all, but he only heard God speak to him and obeyed Him. Therefore, faith brings about God’s grace (unmerited favor and His Divine influence upon the heart of human beings that affects the way they live life on this earth) and this is God’s promise through Abraham to all humanity. This is why God called Abraham the father of many nations simply because every person must come empty handed believing God to be made righteous in His Sight (John 3:16-21).
This is what our Lord Jesus meant when He said, “Abraham saw my day and was glad” because Abraham saw through revelation given him by our Lord that like him every one must believe God and come to Him in the way He declares brings about right standing before Him. This is what Abraham did as our Lord declares in John 3:21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” NKJV Despite being 100 years old he believed that he and his 90 year old wife would bear a son from his loins and her womb because the Pre-Incarnate Christ told him it would happen. Abraham was given life (new life) by God the Father that not only declared him right with God, but made him a different man than when he lived in Ur of the Chaldeans.
This is what our Lord Jesus was telling the Jews in the generation of His Crucifixion with these words, John 8:39-41 “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” NKJV Our Lord was telling these people that Abraham believed Him and drew near to the light of the world and he did not practice evil, but he recognized our Lord and followed Him. But those Jews our Lord spoke to as He said earlier to them, John 8:37-38 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” NKJV Abraham’s spirit was made alive to God by grace through faith, but these men did not have the same spirit as Abraham because they rejected or resisted the light of the world because they belonged to their spiritual father the devil (even though they did not know it).
It was their deeds, actions, lifestyle (they wanted to kill the Lord) that marked them out as the devil’s children unlike Abraham who obeyed the Word of God from the heart. Even today many people have religion or believe in God and do not want to die and go to @#!*% (if it exist as far as they know), but the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ have no place in their hearts and therefore, their daily lives are marked by rebellion to God’s Word and not obedience which marks them out as not belonging to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible said in Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” NKJV Why did Noah receive this grace from God and not any of the other human beings living at that time? Noah was a sinner just like all of the others on the earth, but Noah responded in fear and awe of the Creation all around him and he recognized the Conscience within him that alerted or alarmed him every time he sinned, unlike the others as the word said of them, Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. NKJV Noah was a man of faith or else he would not have received God’s grace, but would have been condemned with the rest. When the Lord spoke to him the word said, Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. NKJV Abraham also heard God and obeyed by leaving the land of his family and following the Lord Jesus Christ not knowing where it would end.
Romans 4:19-25 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. NKJV
Abraham’s faith in God was not without power or ineffective or useless or pathetic, but he truly believed God would give he and his wife a son from their own body, despite the reality of trying to hurry the process along by having sex with Hagar and she giving birth to Ishmael. That sin of Abraham hurt him then and it is still hurting the Jewish people today because all of the Middle Eastern nations like Iran, Iraq, etc. all come from Ishmael’s loins and they continue to trouble Israel. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul here, Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. NKJV Like Abraham we stumble and fall during our sojourn here on the earth, but we can stand firm and fast in the promises in the Word of God that He will place on our accounts righteousness who come to God the Father through the Son (our Lord Jesus Christ) trusting in Him alone. Despite the fact of our sin and rebellion against God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ Blood will cover every one of our sins past, present, and future acquitting us of all charges.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was bruised by the Father for our willful sin against Him and raised from the dead to declare us innocent of all charges. As Paul wrote later on in this letter, Romans 6:4-6 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. NKJV This is the only true response from a heart that has been acquitted of all charges, not to continue in the willful committing of sin, but to graciously, lovingly, and humbly so run after the Lord’s will (as found in His Word) that we can no longer recognize ourselves as this newness of life becomes not an aberration, but a constant normality all because of our love for Jesus Christ our Lord (2 Timothy 2:1).
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME. NKJV
Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. NKJV
“What we count the ills of life are often blessings in disguise, resulting in good to us in the end. Though for the present not joyous but grievous, yet, if received in a right spirit, they work out fruits of righteousness for us at last.” Matthew Henry
“The Apostle is hence telling us that inasmuch as sinners cannot be saved through their efforts, so we who have been regenerated likewise cannot be perfected through any righteous acts of our flesh. How vain do such righteous deeds continue to be!” Watchman Nee
“If there be ground for you to trust in your own righteousness, then, all that Christ did to purchase salvation, and all that God did to prepare the way for it is in vain.” Jonathan Edwards
“I preached on the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith. While I was speaking, several dropped down as dead and among the rest such a cry was heard of sinners groaning for the righteousness of faith that it almost drowned my voice. But many of these soon lifted up their heads with joy and broke out into thanksgiving, being assured they now had the desire of their soul - the forgiveness of their sins.” John Wesley
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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